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Executive Director's Message


Dear Community Champion, 

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and taking some time off over the coming days to relax and spend time with your family, friends and loved ones.  

It’s been a busy few weeks for THE PLAYERS team, between ticket sales launching on December 1, Chip In For Charity and Birdies for Charity starting on December 15 and the on-course build and overseed really beginning to pop. We can feel and sense how excited our fans, sponsors, partners and community are about the 2022 championship and promise you that we are working around the clock to ensure we create a great experience for everyone who joins us from March 8-13.  

Our volunteers have also been working incredibly hard, not just on tournament preparations, but also by supporting local nonprofits in the five-county area through the distribution of their Red Coats grant awards.  

A total of 51 local organizations are receiving Red Coats grant awards this year, and several nonprofits received personal visits from the Red Coats (past volunteer chairpersons) over the past few weeks. Check out the charity spotlights section below to learn more. 

Our Red Coats play such a pivotal role in ensuring that we listen to the needs of this community and respond by directing our charitable contributions to causes that need our help the most. Thank you to the entire committee of Red Coats for your commitment, compassion and giving spirit.  

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a great start to the New Year.  

See you in 2022! 



Jared Rice  

Executive Director, THE PLAYERS 

Charity Spotlights: Red Coat Reindeer Spread Holiday Cheer 

You know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen. But the Red Coat reindeer also know a thing or two about spreading holiday cheer.   

When local nonprofits see the Red Coats coming, they have a feeling that something extra special could be in store for them. 

Each year, the Red Coats (past tournament volunteer chairpersons) conduct surprise visits to nonprofit organizations throughout Northeast Florida to present charitable donations as part of their Red Coat Grants. 

This year, there were 51 total recipients, and the Red Coats presented donations to five of them in person over the last two weeks. 

Click here and keep reading to see what the Red Coat reindeer have been up to this holiday season. 

Gabriel House of Care
Gabriel House of Care provides affordable lodging in a “Community of Healing” to adult cancer and transplant patients, as well as their caregivers, who come to Jacksonville for life-saving treatments and procedures. While sharing a meal with its residents, the Red Coats surprised the organization with a $2,000 grant to support its services and programs, specifically funding to allow patients to stay longer while receiving treatments; support for its Community of Healing programming, which helps patients and caregivers in reducing stress; and lodging for its veteran residents. 
Angelwood 
The Red Coats surprised Angelwood with a $7,500 grant to support the construction of a coffee café, a brand new program that will help Angelwood’s program participants gain marketable vocational skills, such as handling cash and credit transactions, customer service, communication and interpersonal skills with peers and customers, as well as how to take instruction and direction from a supervisor. Angelwood serves children, adults, seniors and families living with intellectual and developmental differences.  
Sanctuary on 8th Street 
Participants from Sanctuary on 8th Street – which expands opportunities for children and families in need through education, social services, recreation, and the arts  – were looking forward to learning which of them will be declared the champion of the gingerbread decorating contest, hosted by the Red Coats.  While the kids were expecting a ribbon and recognition for their artistic efforts after the judging concluded, they were instead surprised with a $7,500 grant to purchase playground equipment for the organization's new community center. 
The Giving Closet Project 
The Giving Closet Project (GCP), a nonprofit located on the campus of Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, provides basic-needs resources for school communities and social service agencies that work directly with homeless and low-income youth and their families. GCP was developed out of the desire to help schools revitalize their lost-and-found into successful donation centers for students in need. The Red Coats presented founder Jennifer Smith with a $10,000 check to help fuel the program’s expansion, especially as demand for its services has continued to increase.  
Catholic Charities Jacksonville's Camp I Am Special
Spirits were at an all-time high on Saturday, December 18, at Camp I Am Special, a camp for people with intellectual and developmental differences and physical disabilities that is operated by Catholic Charities Jacksonville. That’s because it was the first camp held in over two years, after COVID forced the organization to suspend its in-person camps. Camp I Am Special applied for a Red Coat grant to request funding for a new six-seater golf cart that would be used to transport campers more easily across its big campus and also respond to health emergencies more quickly. Campers, staff and volunteers were in for an extra special holiday treat when 2022 Tournament Chairman Matt Welch drove up in a brand new red, six-seater golf cart, adorned with streamers and balloons.  

Volunteer Spotlights: Phil and John Harbison


As preparations on the Stadium Course and TPC Sawgrass grounds increase significantly this time of year, we shine a spotlight on two volunteers who play pivotal roles on the Course Prep and Construction committees. Phil and John Harbison have been PLAYERS volunteers for 34 and 15 years, respectively. And it isn't just a coincidence that they share the last name...they are brothers! Need proof? Here you go:
 


In fact, the Harbison brothers are affectionately known as "they" amongst THE PLAYERS' volunteer family. Some years ago, other committee chairpersons were asking what tasks were remaining prior to the start of the tournament. The chairpersons consistently responded, ‘They will handle it!’ The Harbison brothers had a feeling that the work was going to be delegated to their committees, so Phil and John made name tags for each committee member, all of which had the word ‘THEY’ on them. 

Let's learn more about "THEY" in this Q&A!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Phil: We are from Rutherford, North Carolina. I attended Western Carolina University and currently serve as the president of United Rigging, Inc. I enjoy fishing, snorkeling and diving in my free time. 

John: I am currently retired. I worked for 27 years at Hewlett Packard as an engineer and later as a Project Manager and consultant. I also taught at Western Carolina and Montana State. I have degrees from both universities. I have finally put together a shop and do wood working projects that I find interesting and challenging. I am very much looking forward to working on the restoration of my MGB very soon after finally finishing all the remodeling projects at my home.

Why did you decide to become a volunteer at THE PLAYERS? 

Phil
: I own a company that sells industrial/marine supplies, including rope. I received an inquiry from THE PLAYERS for supplying and installing the ropes used for crowd control. After meeting with the wonderful volunteer network and learning about THE PLAYERS’ charitable contributions in our local communities and beyond, I decided I would like to become a part of this team. I’ve been a volunteer ever since and have built life-long friendships as a result.

John: I visited with Phil a couple of times during the tournament and when I decided to leave the mountains and move here, there was never any doubt about joining this group. I had decided to move on from volunteering as a USA Swimming official and this was a natural progression.

What is your role as a volunteer?

Phil
: I am on the Course Prep committee, which is responsible for meeting with THE PLAYERS staff to plan and coordinate course preparation for the tournament.  This includes staking and roping the course and all auxiliary areas as required with the objective of maximizing spectator viewing and ensuring player safety. Our responsibilities begin approximately two months prior to the tournament and end about two weeks after tournament completion.

John: I am officially on the Construction committee. However, I do whatever Phil and Buzz ask me to do just like the rest of our team. Building a fountain, helping rope the course or skirting the scoreboards are some of the normal tasks. Part of the fun is that new challenges come up very frequently, requiring brainstorming solutions to challenges and then implementing them --- this  happens every year.

What is your favorite memory as a PLAYERS volunteer? 

Phil: 
The time spent back at the ‘barn’ (our committee 'clubhouse') with our committee members as well as other volunteers after long days spent on behalf of THE PLAYERS before, during, and after the tournament.

John: Hugging Marion Davis after receiving the Jimmy and Marion Davis award! (Editor's note: The award John references is given in honor of Jimmy and Marion Davis for their dedication to THE PLAYERS Championship.  This award represents an individual that has served far beyond the hours needed for the volunteer perks, including pre-tournament, championship week, and post tournament service hours. This devotion stems from the Davis’ genuine love for THE PLAYERS and an attitude of helping not only their committee but supporting so many others during the tournament.)

What are you most looking forward to about the 2022 tournament?

Phil: Getting started!

John: The camaraderie with the volunteers and especially all the Facilities “family.”

Are there any other fun stories you'd like to share?

Phil and John:
Both of our committees often receive last minute construction or facilities requests. One year, we were asked to build a replacement fountain for Wine & Dine on 9. We brainstormed some ideas and built the one currently in use. This was built by repurposing discarded pavers and pond liners along with an old wine barrel (furnished by the Blue Coats) and a replica of the Goldman trophy. It was completed and installed in about a month and finished on the Saturday before the tournament.

To this day, Phil and John continue to live up to the Scout motto, "Be Prepared!"
Thank you, Harbison brothers, for your many years of service to THE PLAYERS! 

News to Know

Chip In For Charity and Birdies for Charity have launched!  
THE PLAYERS is excited to offer two charitable programs that support the fundraising goals of nonprofit organizations in the five-county area: Chip In For Charity and Birdies for Charity. Visit https://www.theplayers.com/charity.html for more information about each program and how you can get involved.
Quick Nine
The "Quick Nine" video series introduces you to a different member of THE PLAYERS team each month. Click the image below to learn more about Sam Brimhall, our new Tournament Services Intern!
Photos of the Month
Congratulations to Special Olympics Florida – Duval County athlete Ryan Luck, who recently earned a gold medal in Division 2 of the Level 5 Special Olympics State Golf Championship, held in Orlando two weekends ago. Luck won the individual 18-hole golf championship by one stroke! 
PGA TOUR employees recently spent an afternoon volunteering at Pine Castle, a local nonprofit that serves adults with intellectual and developmental differences and provides support to their families across Northeast Florida. Pine Castle has received several Red Coats grant awards in recent years.  
Members of THE PLAYERS team joined in the fun at THE PLAYERS Boys & Girls Club in St. Augustine's holiday party, where children and their families enjoyed food, games, caroling and some Chippo! 
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